Denon DP-3000NE Turntable Page 2

Other thoughtful accessories include a true 45rpm adapter that also doubles as a record weight (visible on the rear shot, p57), and a hinged lid shaped to match the contours of the plinth. A mains cable is also provided, plus a high-quality set of interconnects and an earthing lead that appears chunky enough to channel away a direct lightning strike without even getting warm.

sqnote Solid As A Rock
With a Clearaudio MC Essence [HFN Aug '17] installed and Denon's interconnect plugged into my Yamaha C-5000/M-5000 pre/power amp combination [HFN Aug '20], immediate results from the DP-3000NE were highly promising. This turntable served up a rich, enveloping sound with firm, detailed bass and a fluid treble. Rhythmic detail was rock-solid and surface noise and general vinyl background hash was superbly suppressed. Denon's work on the motor drive algorithm has clearly not been in vain, as the DP-3000NE is surefooted and confident in operation.

Sweet and beguiling in terms of treble, the deck took the MC Essence cartridge and traded a little of its ultimate clarity for warmth and liquidity. Cymbals on The Eagles' 'One Of These Nights' from the album of the same name [Asylum Records K53014] had form and realism, but with a slight smoothing of the metallic sheen that one might expect. However, while the DP-3000NE was, on occasion, showing some dynamic reticence – a clue that it wasn't fully revealing its potential – I was reminded that the obvious companion for a flagship Denon turntable is not necessarily a Clearaudio cartridge...


An additional counterweight screws into the rear of the arm extending its accommodation of cartridges from 4-16g to 14-26g. Otherwise this is a 'plug and go' solution – with detachable headshell – including pre-wired RCA phono outputs

Made To Match
Swapping over to a Denon DL-103R [HFN Jul '09] proved the point as the sparkle of treble returned to the DP-3000NE turntable. Everything at the top-end was now sprightly and crisp, ensuring that the violins on Overture No.1, Act 1 of Mozart's 'Die Zauberflote', performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus/Otto Klemperer [EMI SLS912], sounded biting and immediate. The DL-103 cartridge, in all its various guises, can sound unremarkable if it is not in the right arm, but clearly the DP-3000NE with its DA-309-derived tonearm is a natural companion.

Most interesting of all, however, is the way in which the DP-3000NE marshals the midband. There's often a view that direct-drive turntables can lack emotion and sound sterile and 'mechanical'. Ten minutes with the DP-3000NE would disabuse anyone of this notion. I can't help wondering if the unusual pattern of tonearm resonances [see PM's Lab Report, opposite] is having an effect here but the DP-3000NE's midband is otherwise projective, dynamic and forthright in the very best way.

Bold As Brass
Listening to 'Little Brown Jug', from the Syd Lawrence Orchestra's Big Band Spectacular direct-cut LP [Chasing the Dragon VALDC002], I have seldom heard the performance so 'alive'. Rasping brass, thundering drums, crisp leading edges and a resonant bassline all added up to a breathtaking rendition. I had trouble wiping the grin off my face.


Inside/underneath showing the universal switchmode PSU [top left], 'Space Vector' PWM motor control [top right] and tonearm base [bottom left]

Again, but through the deepest bass, the DP-3000NE retains the sense of surefootedness and timing that has long been the preserve of a good direct-drive turntable. It digs deeply but without becoming overblown or bloated. Bass notes start and stop on demand and some tracks even sounded as if they were running a little fast thanks to the impeccable sense of security offered by this deck (and, yes, I did double-check that its speed was absolutely spot-on.) Anders Hansson's basslines on Harriet's 'Drop In The Ocean' [The Outcome; Bright Star Records 5060955-400770] came across as rounded, rich and precisely paced, guaranteeing the track's sense of groove shone through even as the keyboards, percussion and guitar accompaniment joined in on top.

All In Order
On the album's title track, which is a simple vocal piece with minimal instrumentation, Harriet's vocals were clear, lifelike and projected wonderfully out into the room. The echo picked up from the recording studio was almost uncannily realistic. The DP-3000NE doesn't throw images extravagantly wide or into the far distance, instead being content to offer a properly ordered soundstage within the confines of the loudspeakers, and out into the room by a well-judged amount.

This presentation might lack the initial pizzaz of some competitors but, ultimately, it affords better focus on the subtlety of a recording. At the same time, while the DP-3000NE seems a paragon of sophistication with high-quality material, it also proves more than capable of thundering out thumping dance beats, such as 'Padam Padam' from Kylie Minogue's Tension LP [BMG 538927931], with heady abandon. A direct-drive turntable with a lack of 'drive' just doesn't seem right – fortunately Denon's DP-3000NE is in top gear all the way.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Denon's DP-3000NE turntable can carry the company's 'flagship' moniker with pride. At its heart is an innovative direct-drive motor that reaps performance rewards, while styling, fit and finish are first-class and setup is aided by some thoughtful touches. The tonearm has its quirks, which means that cartridge matching is more critical than usual, but get this right and the deck is an absolute winner.

Masimo Consumer
Irvine, CA, USA
Supplied by: Masimo Consumer Europe, The Netherlands
02890 279830